New Year, New Rules
Happy New Year (SN: you should stop saying “Happy New Year” after January 2nd, but I digress)…
With this new year, many have made resolutions; stop smoking, eat healthier, read more, work harder and the big one work out more. Many of the people that choose to work out more will join a gym, and for many of these people the gym is all new territory. There are many who can be intimidated by the sight of crazed folks, hurling massive amounts of dumbbells, with little regard for the lives of those around them. Some use this intimidation to try and make small talk, while others let it sour them on the gym experience. There are also those new members who have read a magazine, blog or forum and thought that they were in need of the newest in gym clothing technology; shiny, fluorescent, sweat-wicking skin-tight fabrics that hug all of the curves of the body. Shoes with the latest in reflective, space-age materials. Even still, there are those who get differing ideas and opinions of how to act when in the gym. As an avid gym goer, and aspiring bodybuilder, I feel its only right that I impart some simple gym truths on anyone willing to listen.
1. It’s all about what you wear…
This is the one that drives you crazy. Each January, sporting goods stores, department stores and everything in between will roll out their “New Year, New You” advertisements. They broadcast the latest from Under Armour, Nike etc., with claims of the clothing doing everything from making you stronger, to helping you to run faster for longer. I won’t tell you that I don’t own compression clothing, because that would be a lie. But I can tell you that there should be a reason for wearing different clothes for different activities. For example, on days that I’m doing heavy lower body lifts, I’ll be sure to wear a shirt that will allow me to put on a lifting belt-it is difficult to do this with a baggy sweatshirt on. I’ll also wear “cold-weather” tights under my sweats. The insulating fabric helps to keep my knees warm and feeling limber.
You don’t need the newest Nike Air Max with 50 air pockets if you’re going to be doing deadlifts. That is how you ruin your shoes and hurt yourself. Wearing what’s comfortable; a clean t-shirt, sweat pants, etc… will never go out of style. Don’t buy the hype and don’t buy based simply on a billboard/advertisement.
2. It’s okay to be social, but…
Many people who frequent the gym are living in a routine. For people like myself, I have a limited amount of time to get in, do my workout and then get to work. Stopping to have long conversations just isn’t in the cards. I do my best to greet everyone that I pass, and to keep it moving. When others speak and/or ask questions, I do all that I can to answer and address any concerns that they may have. However, there are times that I observe gym-goers taking up gobs of time of the gym members around them by waxing poetic about their jobs, children, pets…the notion that the conversation you have with someone and keep them from reaching their goals is atrocious. It is even worse when the offender is an employee of the gym/trainer. No one should stop sweating because you started talking to them. But also…
4. …Put your pride aside
Let’s say that you see someone doing a lift that you just know is a killer. You may even have a little ego attached to your voyeurism, and know for a fact that you can do what they are doing? Now let’s say that this lift is completely foreign to you. Should you a) wing it, and try like heck to imitate this person, or b) ask that person for information and insight about what they are doing, and how to properly do it? Too many times, we get into the gym and act as though it belittles us to ask for help and guidance from the other gym-goers. Ask for help!
5. Be nice!
There are a lot of attractive people in the gym. Many of them women, who wear the newest, most amazing thing in the fitness realm, print tights. Don’t stare; it is rude, and you also don’t know who in that gym is dating who. You’d hate to ogle some woman and then face her husband, wouldn’t you? You’d absolutely get mean-mugged by the woman who’s husband/boyfriend you just “accidentally” brushed up against. Be respectful!
Also be mindful that no matter your fitness level and experience, we all are working to improve. This time of the year, there will be someone in there that is restarting their fitness lives. Some may even be fighting to save their lives. They may be obese, dressed ratty or looking a mess. Encourage, don’t intimidate or discourage them.
6. Mama doesn’t work here!
Rack your weights! Racking your weights means that when you are done with the equipment and/or machine, you put it back THE WAY IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE!! Even if you use a bench and it was loaded with plates, when you finish using that weight, you should put everything back to where it is supposed to be.
Also, if you are sweating over everything, clean it up. If you shed hair on the bench like a Border Collie, clean it up. If you spill your protein powder…you get the hint…
So there are a few
of my pet peeves simple reminders, which will hopefully help you as you navigate this busy time in the gym. Stay healthy in the new year, and like tip #5 says, encourage someone in the gym.
Until next time,
RACK YOUR WEIGHTS!